Rock-n-Blues for your Dancin’ Shoes

San Diego Troubadour Review of Chemistry 101 | August 2017


12 tracks from blues duo John January and Linda Berry, with full band backing, all choice covers. Consisting of deep gems, this is a winner. You can tell the musicians involved are having a good time – it’s in the grooves.

First off, there is great production from Thomas Yearsley and Scott Exum, highlighting both Berry’s commanding vocals and January’s excellent guitar work, on electric and acoustic guitars, depending on the tune. Secondly, while this is certainly a blues album, that tag is actually a little limiting as it encompasses many shades of blue within its dozen tracks.

Major points as well for covering two songs by San Diego music icons, Jimmy Liggins 1947 jump blues stomper “I Can’t Stop It,” and J.J. Cale’s breezy 1979 shuffle, “Sensitive Kind,” the latter highlighted by sterling slide work from January. Also good is a swampy harmony and harmonica laden take on Dylan’s “I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight,” adding a touch of pop to the proceedings, coming across like something from country radio circa 1968. The variety of sounds and settings on the album mixed with the great song selection, which also includes tunes from the likes of Sonny Boy Williamson and Robert Johnson, make this a solid listen. Top shelf blues.  Visit San Diego Troubadour website where this CD review appeared

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John January

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Linda Berry

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